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Pay-TV platform DISH, TVB (USA) and CCTV have filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York to halt what they allege is illegal streaming of content via the ‘h.TV’ device. TVB is the largest producer of Cantonese-language TV programming in the world and CCTV is the largest television broadcaster in mainland China. DISH owns exclusive rights to retransmit TVB and CCTV channels and programmes via satellite in the United States, as well as exclusive rights to retransmit TVB content Over the Top (OTT) in the US.
In the filing, DISH, TVB and CCTV state that HTV International Limited (HTVI) has set up a pirate broadcasting network that brazenly captures entire channels of TVB and CCTV television programming and streams that programming over the Internet to users of the h.TV device in the US, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The h.TV Retransmission Service accomplishes this massive piracy in part through a peer-to-peer network – like Napster, Grokster, and BitTorrent, but designed to stream video content rather than to download media files,” the plaintiffs state in the complaint. “Through this peer-to-peer network, some h.TV users not only receive unauthorised streams of CCTV and TVB programming in the United States, but also simultaneously retransmit that programming to other h.TV users in the United States.”
The plaintiffs note that consumers are paying as much as $300 for an h.TV device and accessing a variety of ‘apps’ that enable users to access, view and share infringing streams of television programming. Many of these apps unlawfully retransmit TVB and CCTV programming.
“Not only are consumers being scammed when they buy the h.TV device, which relies on content obtained illegally, they are being exploited to help facilitate this scheme through a peer-to-peer network that retransmits unauthorised programming from one user to another,” said Samuel Tsang, vice president, operations for TVB USA. “We work with providers like DISH to offer our content legally to consumers and won’t stand for pirates who seek to profit from our content without our authorisation.”
“HTVI has built its entire business around blatant copyright infringement, brazenly advertising and promoting the capability of the h.TV device to provide users with infringing streams of CCTV and TVB television programming,” the plaintiffs state in the complaint.